Circus movement atrial flutter in the canine sterile pericarditis model. Cryothermal termination from the epicardial site of the slow zone of the reentrant circuit.
BACKGROUND We have shown that atrial flutter (AF) in dogs with sterile pericarditis is commonly due to a single-loop reentrant circuit in the lower right atrium comprised of a functional or functional/anatomic obstacle and a slow zone of conduction (SZ) between the central obstacle and the atrioventricular (AV) ring. The goals of the present study were 1) to establish that the epicardial SZ is the critical component of circus movement AF and 2) to identify the optimal site within the epicardial SZ at which interruption of circus movement can be accomplished by ablative techniques.
METHODS AND RESULTS We analyzed the atrial activation patterns during epicardial cooling of the SZ with as N2O-cooled probe in eight dogs (five with clockwise [CW] reentrant circuit, one with counterclockwise [CCW] reentrant circuit, and two with both CW and CCW reentrant circuits around the same pathway). In all eight dogs, cooling (-5 to +5 degrees C for 5-20 seconds) the narrow isthmus at the inferoposterior part of the SZ between the central obstacle and the AV ring reversibly terminated the reentrant circuit, whereas cooling outside this area failed to terminate the reentrant circuit. The circus movement was not observed to continue along alternate pathways when conduction in this critical zone was interrupted. Both CW and CCW reentrant circuits could be terminated from the same site within the SZ. Cooling resulted in slowing of conduction in the SZ (55 +/- 15 msec) in both CW and CCW reentrant circuits. Cooling-induced termination of CW reentrant circuits was characteristically associated with oscillations of conduction in the cooled zone of the last three cycles before termination and conduction block occurred within the cooled zone. The last "manifest" reentrant cycle was associated with the longest conduction delay in the cooled zone. However, this delay was not necessarily reflected in the length of the last reentrant cycle because of compensatory acceleration of conduction in the rest of the pathway. On the other hand, in CCW reentrant circuits, conduction block occurred abruptly at the distal border of the SZ and without significant oscillations of conduction.
CONCLUSIONS The present study provides convincing evidence that single-loop circus movement in this model is critically dependent on an obligatory conduction in a SZ in the inferoposterior portion of the free right atrial wall between a functional obstacle and the AV ring. Because the atrial myocardium behaves electrophysiologically as a two-dimensional surface, the results of this study may help to guide the endocardial electrode catheter ablative technique for treatment of clinical AF.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association